‘Zog nit keynmol az du geyst dem letstn veg' (Never say that you are walking the final road), also known as ‘The Partisans' Song’, is perhaps the best-known of the Yiddish songs created during the Holocaust. It was written by the young Vilna poet Hirsh Glik, and based on a pre-existing melody by the Soviet-Jewish composer Dimitri Pokrass. Inspired by the news of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, the song was adopted as the official anthem of the Vilna partisans shortly after it was composed in 1943, and spread with remarkable rapidity to other ghettos and camps.  The song is powerful and defiantly optimistic, acknowledging Jewish suffering in the past and present, and urging the Jewish people to continue fighting for their survival. It is one of the most frequently performed songs at Holocaust commemoration ceremonies.

Never say that you are walking the final road,
Though leaden skies obscure blue days;
The hour we have been longing for will still come,
Our steps will drum – we are here!

From green palm-land to distant land of snow,
We arrive with our pain, with our sorrow,
And where a spurt of our blood has fallen,
There will sprout our strength, our courage.

The morning sun will tinge our today with gold,
And yesterday will vanish with the enemy,
But if the sun and the dawn are delayed –
Like a watchword this song will go from generation to generation.

This song is written with blood and not with lead,
It’s not a song about a bird that is free,
A people, between falling walls,
Sang this song with pistols in their hands.

So never say that you are walking the final road
Though leaden skies obscure blue days.
The hour we have been longing for will still come –
Our steps will drum – we are here!

Reference: Shirli Gilbert, Music in the Holocaust: Confronting Life in the Nazi Ghettos and Camps, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 71.

See 'Jewish Culture During the Shoah' website (Yivo) for a Yiddish version.

Nine versions of this song can be listened to from the Jewish Music Archive at SaveTheMusic.com